Diocese of Blackburn Launches 'Fit for Purpose' Debate

The Church of England in Lancashire has launched a county wide debate to make it ‘fit for purpose’ in a decade of decreasing clergy.

Paid parish priests are set to fall to 106 by 2019, compared with 250 in 2000 and 156 currently. Numbers of unpaid clergy are rising, from 44 to 59 between 2006 and 2011, but such continuing growth cannot be guaranteed.

‘We cannot have fewer clergy and continue as we are,’ said the Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Rev John Goddard, who chaired the year-long, 15 member task force that drafted a report on the Church’s future.

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